team2Employees value the group risk benefits they are offered more than employers believe highlighting a growing perception gap and exposing myths about benefits, new research from MetLife shows.

Its study found 74% of employers believe staff would rather than have the cash than life insurance and 73% believe employees do not value life insurance despite the money invested in providing life cover.

However the research among employees shows two-thirds (66%) would take life insurance instead of the cash and 80% regard it as an important benefit to have.

The study found 74% of employers do not communicate the benefits of Group Income Protection for fear that it will encourage staff to take time off if they are aware they have this provision in place.  However more than half of employees (55%) say they would still be concerned about taking extended time off work if they had Group Income Protection demonstrating an underlying breakdown of communication between employers and employees as to the true benefit of Group Income Protection cover.

The study found employers are even confused about the benefits of the packages they provide – 80% of employers questioned said they regard Income Protection as an important benefit to protect their cashflow despite concerns about it potentially encouraging absenteeism.

When employers were questioned on why this might be the case, 82% admitted to having a lack of expertise with the product, with 79% also blaming a lack of time for not implementing it properly.  A further 71% of employers cited both cost and a lack of resources as a reason for why Group Income protection wasn’t being properly promoted.

team3Tom Gaynor, Employee Benefits Director at MetLife UK said: “There is a huge gulf between what employers and employees think about benefits and a lack of understanding on both sides on the value of employee benefits.

“Neither side should lose sight of the central role they play in the working life when you consider the central role they play as a recruitment and retention tool of today. Employers should take time to ensure the benefits package they are offering is one that resonates with their employees, and staff members should ensure they benefit as much as possible from what is on offer in their own specific workplace.”

MetLife’s research additionally shows gym memberships are the benefit most understood by staff, with 74% saying they have a good level of knowledge about the product, with Private Medical Insurance (PMI) coming in second, with 60% of employees saying they have a good level of understanding of this benefit.